Sacha Lord brings ‘open hospitality’ case against government to High Court

Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord has confirmed he will take his legal challenge against the Government to the High Court, where it will face a judicial review.

Lord is looking to bring forward the reopening of the hospitality sector in England to 12 April, when non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen.

Lord successfully brought a case against the health secretary that the ‘substantial meal’ rule of last year was discriminatory.

He is now arguing the case for hospitality businesses again, stating there is no reason the industry should wait any longer to be allowed to trade.

The government had until Wednesday to respond to Lord’s case. He said no new evidence was presented as to why hospitality has been forced to wait until 17 May to open indoors.

Lord said: “The government has failed to introduce any new evidence as to why indoor hospitality cannot open on 12 April alongside non-essential retail and we will now be taking this case to the High Court for an expedited judicial review.

“While we’re pleased beer gardens will be reopening from 12 April, many venues don’t have the space or financial capabilities to have an outdoor area, and as we know very well in Manchester, the weather is not always kind.

“Operators have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds creating indoor Covid secure environments, as advised by ministers themselves, and we firmly believe these regulated, ventilated venues have much safer measures and greater social distancing in place than retail stores.

“This is not a hospitality versus retail argument, but government decisions must operate on a level playing field and be supported by evidence. We currently see no clear justification for the delay.”

A Parliamentary committee agreed this week that the government did not provided sufficient data to warrant the decision to wait.

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